If you've been thinking about handlettering in the Procreate app, here are ten reasons why you will love it. I taught myself how to letter using Procreate before I learned how to do brush lettering and modern calligraphy on paper so I've grown to prefer it over traditional lettering. If you've learned traditional first, you might need some persuasion as to why lettering in Procreate is better. So here ya go!...
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10 Reasons You Need to Try Procreate Lettering on the iPad
1. No mess and no waste.
Because you're not using paper, there's nothing to throw away when you make a mistake. There's no tracing paper to use because you can trace designs digitally in a new layer right within Procreate. Because you're not using brush pens, there's no tip that will fray from pressing on it. Because you're not using a dip pen, there's a never-ending supply of ink that won't need to be replaced. And because you're not using markers, there are no caps to lose. There's also no black Indian ink to spill all over the carpet. That last one is me speaking from experience. You can also file all of your work digitally and neatly right within Procreate by creating stacks and use them as folders to stay virtually organized.
2. You can create any traditional medium.
Your work doesn't have to look like it's digital. If you like the look of certain mediums -- anything from watercolors, chalk, alcohol inks, paint, cut paper to brush pens -- you can get that look in Procreate. You can use Procreate brushes and backgrounds that look like the real thing. You can even find Procreate brushes that are made to look like Tombow Markers, Fude brushes, chalk, and paper textures.
3. Drills not required.
Wait, what? That's unheard of in the lettering world! But it's true. I taught myself handlettering on the Procreate app before learning it 'in real life'. I never did any drills. Don't get me wrong, I still practiced a LOT but I didn't build up muscle memory from drills.
Procreate has a streamline setting that allows you to smooth out any shaky lines you may get. It also has functions called QuickLine and QuickShape which allow you to draw perfect lines, angles, arcs, circles, and other shapes. While some may call that cheating, I don't see it being any different than someone purchasing a brand name set of brush markers to get juicier downstrokes. You use the tools you have to achieve the results you want.
4. No dry time or smudges.
Because it's digital there is no ink that needs to dry. Therefore, there are no unwanted smudges left on you or your paper. Hello, I'm talking to you, lefties!
5. Every color brush you could want.
A lot of art supply companies package and sell their pens, paints, and markers by color. You may only be able to afford a set of 12 Karin markers and not the whole set with ALL the colors. I've always wanted the full set of Tombow Dual Brush Pens, but could only afford two of the color sets with 12 markers in each one. With Procreate, you only need one brush but you'll have ALL the colors. And those colors will never dry out and need to be replaced, saving you money over time.
6. Don't worry about how to hold your pen or the angle you hold it.
In traditional lettering and calligraphy, how you hold your pen and the angle of it matters a great deal. You want to hold the pen closer to the top and at a 45 degree angle to the paper. With the Apple Pencil in Procreate, you can hold it however is comfortable to you. If you hold it straight up and down at 90 degrees, you can still achieve the thick and thin strokes you get with brush lettering.
7. Share it easily on social media.
With traditional lettering or calligraphy, when you want to show off your work on Instagram or other social media, there are a lot more steps involved. First, you want to make sure you have great lighting, have cute little props positioned around your photo, and then take a picture with your camera or mobile device. You'll probably want to do some editing of that photo if it didn't turn out how you hoped. There are a lot of third party apps for this but you'll need to save your picture and send it somewhere else before saving it again before uploading. It's a lot of extra work!
Procreate itself can be a photo editor so you never even have to leave the app. You can find free or inexpensive mockups and stock photos (I get mine at Ivory Mix) to add to your work. Just import the photo into a layer below your lettering and you're done! Then save it all at once as a JPEG and it's ready for social media.
8. Built-in drawing guides.
Procreate has built-in drawing guides. If you go to the Actions Menu (wrench icon), tap Canvas, then turn on the Drawing Guide button, you can then tap Edit Drawing Guide. This will bring up options to choose a 2D grid, an isometric grid, perspective grid with a vanishing point, and a symmetry function for mirroring or using radial symmetry. All of these are then easily customized to size, direction, color, and opacity.
In addition to that, you can use the grid brush that comes with Procreate to draw your own grid. You can even take a photo of guidelines and import it into your Procreate canvas to letter on top of.
9. Customize your brushes.
As if all the amazing brushes that come standard with the Procreate app aren't enough, they've also made it so you can customize each one to your liking. You can duplicate their brushes and manipulate the settings into making a whole new brush from the ones available.
If you're not comfortable enough playing around in the brush settings, you can always find tons of free Procreate brushes online as well as premium brushes that are made by others (and still far more affordable than traditional brand name lettering brushes and markers). These are digital downloads so you receive them immediately and you don't have to pay for shipping.
10. It's portable.
You're probably thinking, 'so are paper and pens', right? And while that's true, you may only have a sketchbook and a few pens that you carry around with you. With Procreate, all you're carrying around is the iPad and Apple Pencil (or other stylus). Within that you have every brush you own in millions of colors, erasers that match every brush, guidelines, rulers, stencils, paper, tracing paper, water, blenders, reference photos, and so much more. I'm sure while all of those are portable, they're not easily carried around everywhere without a mess.
3D or three dimensional lettering is easier! You see 3D lettering everywhere now and if you struggle with creating that look, it's super easy to do in Procreate. I've heard most people describe how they have a difficult time figuring out which direction to make their lines and shadows. Procreate has a motion blur option that will let you see exactly where to add your blocks, lines, and shadows!
So What's the downside to lettering in procreate?
While some prefer the feel of the smoothness when the Apple Pencil slides over the glass, many do not. Most people want the screen to feel like they're writing on paper so they have more control over the strokes. In this case, there are screen protectors you can purchase that have a matte feel, are non-reflective, and feel like you're writing on paper.
I've tried several brands but personally use and love this one.
If you have questions or want clarifications, leave a comment or come join my free Facebook group at Procreate for Beginners with Cristin AF.
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